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Norwich model railway shop unveils Brexit-themed display window

PUBLISHED: 10:43 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:57 09 May 2019

Helen Arnold and Anne Martin from Great Eastern Models in Norwich. Picture Facebook/Great Eastern Models.

Helen Arnold and Anne Martin from Great Eastern Models in Norwich. Picture Facebook/Great Eastern Models.

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A Norwich railway model shop has built a Brexit-themed window display - with a message that everyone can agree with.

The Brexit-themed window display with the train shunting backwards and forwards between The Brexit-themed window display with the train shunting backwards and forwards between "IN" and "OUT" signs, at the Great Eastern Model Railways shop in Plumstead Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The window display at Great Eastern Models has a little train shunting endlessly back and forth over the White Cliffs of Dover between "IN" and "OUT" sides of the window.

"Brexit's on the news every single night," said proprietor Anne Martin, who runs the business on Plumstead Road with her brother Rob Hockey and her sister Helen Arnold. "It's depressing, and we just wanted to have a bit of fun."

The shop has long made seasonal displays for holidays like Christmas, Easter and Mothers' Day, but it was only when one of their earlier displays malfunctioned that they decided on something political.

Anne explained how the unusually warm spring weather had warped the track and had caused the display train to continually hit the buffers.

The Brexit-themed window display with the train shunting backwards and forwards between The Brexit-themed window display with the train shunting backwards and forwards between "IN" and "OUT" signs, at the Great Eastern Model Railways shop in Plumstead Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"A flippant comment made by one of our customers likened the model to the Brexit situation," she said. "And the idea was born."

Inspired, Anne's brother Rob got to work on the next display, crafting the tunnel and decorating the window with British and EU flags.

Anne doesn't want to reveal her opinion on Brexit, because of how divisive it could be with her customers, and she has already been informed by one person that it's "not a laughing matter".

"What we are clear on is we don't want to say our political views," she said. "But what nobody knows is, are we in or are we out?

"Of course it has caused some controversy but that was not our intention," she added. "We are just trying to be topical and trying to raise a smile amongst our customers and friends."

Great Eastern Models has been in business for 32 years, and was originally opened by Anne, Rob and Helen's father.

Now it is the only dedicated mini railway hobbyist shop in Norfolk and, Anne says, is something of a destination for their customers, who are often happy to sit down for a cup of tea and a chat.

Most people said they "really love" the display, said Anne, and over on the shop's Facebook page the comments have taken the whole project in good spirit regardless of their views on Brexit.

"Should be screaming "I want to break free," joked one commenter.

"Shouldn't the train be careering off the cliff on fire?" said another.

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